January 7, 2019
People, plants and learning
Rebecca Parker grew up surrounded by trees in Dundas, Ont., and now spends every working day surrounded by trees, and building relationships with co-workers, clients, and fellow volunteers.
For Rebecca Parker, the past seven years working in tree sales/customer service at NVK Holdings in Waterdown, Ont., have been an extremely rewarding and exciting experience.

Known simply as the “tree girl” by many clients, Parker recalls falling in love with tulip trees at a very young age. “Since I was a kid, my grandma was always into gardening,” Parker says. Her grandma would often give her a tour of the garden that included a very large tulip tree in the yard.

Parker says there were no specific horticulture programs offered throughout her schooling, so after high school, with her interest piqued at a young age, she took part-time courses at Mohawk College, completing the Plant ID diploma program in about a year-and-a-half.

Since being hired seven years ago, Parker says she has been very fortunate to work alongside NVK’s Paul DeGroot, and looks to him as a mentor. Parker noticed DeGroot’s volunteer involvement with Landscape Ontario and asked about how to get involved. “Paul helped to pique my interest in the volunteer world and he’s the reason why I am here right now,” Parker says. For two years now, she has been a volunteer with DeGroot on LO’s Show Committee.

“I’ve learned so much about what goes on behind-the-scenes at Congress and the work that gets put into it. I was there for set-up and tear-down and to see it was just mind-blowing. It’s also been really cool meeting the people on the committee and learning about their businesses. I’ve actually helped some committee members with some planning and plant material. It’s fun to be able to use your knowledge and gain knowledge because everyone on the committee has their own niche. There’s people that have more knowledge in certain areas, and that’s why the committee works so well,” Parker says.

Also a graduate of the Horticultural Technician Apprenticeship Program (HTAP) in 2015, Parker plans to one day plans complete the exam and gain her Red Seal designation.

“One of the things I love so much about this career is all the learning,” Parker says. “There’s not a day I don’t walk out of here without learning something.”

Other things in her career that Parker looks forward to on a daily basis are interacting and building relationships with her co-workers and clients. “I’m a social butterfly,” Parker says, “I love people, so my favourite thing is meeting and interacting with new people.” Over the years, she has built up trust with many clients who now rely on her expertise and judgment, something that is extremely rewarding to Parker.

Being immersed in a seasonal business, it’s not easy to make, or even find time to volunteer, but Parker says,  “to be honest, it really doesn’t take up that much time. Plus I enjoy it and I get a lot out of it.”